Max Maubach comes across as light-hearted and respectful, traits possibly associated with his dedication to Tae Kwon Do. Max, a seventh grader at Shepherd Middle School, has studied Tae Kwon Do since second grade and has progressed to a red belt, placing him one belt shy of a black belt. Besides being a Korean martial art similar to Karate, Tae Kwon Do teaches Max life lessons through its focus on four character-building skills—respect, honor, integrity, and confidence.
Max first walked into the dojo in second grade. At the time, he had a friend who had recently enrolled in the class, and Max was curious. While his friend eventually dropped out, Max stuck with it. He has progressed through the belt system over five years and will likely walk into high school with a black belt. Ultimately, Max cites the people in his dojo as the primary reason behind his dedication, saying they’re “always nice and treat you well.”
He adds that Tae Kwon Do teaches him to “treat people with respect. It teaches you how to be respectful when in combat and how to defend yourself.”
Max’s favorite classes at school are Science and Physical Education. He runs cross-country and track, competing in the 100 and 400-meter races. He listens to a wide variety of music, from rap to country. He also enjoys playing video games and reading fiction, suggesting books about war and some comedies as his favorites.
Max also spends a great deal of time outdoors, playing football and basketball with friends. He especially enjoys hiking through the wilderness, often spotting deer in preparation for hunting season. Max shotgun hunts with his father, who taught him how to hunt and properly use a knife.
Max also shares a love of cars with his father and his grandfather. Max’s grandfather keeps a jeep from Vietnam in his garage. The cold weather saddens Max as it means his grandfather will move the jeep into the garage for the winter. Max’s father is interested in older vehicles. This fascination with how cars work has led Max to contemplate studying mechanical engineering. Still, he is also considering becoming a lawyer.
When asked about becoming a lawyer, Max suggests that he “has a good way of convincing people of situations.” “For example,” he says, “if some kid got into trouble, I could explain what actually happened. They would believe me. I have a good reputation and voice.”
Max found last year incredibly challenging, citing the pandemic and especially not being able to set foot in a physical classroom as a struggle. He spent the first part of the school year learning from home but says that returning to the classroom was also an adjustment.
Max readily admits his grades suffered, and at one point, he wasn’t sure if he’d be able to earn passing grades. Ultimately, he pushed through, using more than his fair share of respect, honor, integrity, and confidence in the process.
Tae Kwon Do [teaches you] to treat people with respect. It teaches you how to be respectful when in combat and how to defend yourself.